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Serving: MO

Biodiesel Ready to Flow

Soybean farmers celebrate the opening of Missouri's first major biodiesel facility.

Supporters of Missouri agriculture and biofuels gathered Oct. 24 in Mexico to cut through the only barrier existing between themselves and the state's first major biodiesel production facility. After a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Mid-America Biofuels LLC officially opened for production.

The majority farmer-owned operation, Mid-Am carries a nameplate production capacity of 30 million gallons per year and uses soybean oil as its primary feedstock.

"A year ago today, we came together to break ground for this facility. With the dedication and support of U.S. Senators Kit Bond and Jim Talent, Governor Matt Blunt and U.S. Congressman Kenny Hulshof, we've brought biodiesel in Missouri to the forefront of the nation's industry," says Dale R. Ludwig, executive director/CEO of Missouri Soybean Association. "Missouri has a wonderful group of legislators who recognize the importance of renewable fuels. They've helped make the Mid-Am dream become reality."

During an equity drive in 2005, nearly 400 agricultural producers in Missouri purchased shares in Biofuels, LLC, which formed the joint venture between Archer Daniels Midland Company; Ray-Carroll County Grain Growers, Inc.; MFA Oil Company; and Growmark, Inc. Since the start of construction in October, 2005, this group has created many additional jobs in Missouri and soon it will start increasing revenue for farmers. Mid-Am is expected to begin biodiesel production within a month.

"This plant gives Missouri soybean farmers a chance to be leaders in their industry," says Warren Stemme, St. Louis-county farmer and chairman of Mid-America Biofuels, LLC.

Biodiesel is a non-toxic, biodegradable, renewable fuel made from fats and oils, such as soybean oil. It helps reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil and works in any diesel engine with few or no modifications. It offers enhanced lubricity and cetane, plus similar horsepower and torque when compared to petroleum based diesel fuel. An estimated 50% of Missouri soybean farmers use biodiesel in their operations and many major fleets use it commercially.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony marks the opening of the Mid-America Biofuels biodiesel plant Oct. 24 in Mexico.

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